The brakes were put on the 2017 Dakar Rally yesterday as the competitors and crews enjoyed a much needed Rest Day in La Paz. With over 4 000 kilometres already ventured through Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia there was anticipation in the bivouac of what’s to come on the second week of the toughest test of endurance motorsport has to offer.
With no racing on Sunday the Dakar camp in Bolivia’s capital city was a hive of activity from sunrise to sunset. Mechanics and engineers worked tirelessly on the cars, bikes, trucks and quads that remain in the race.
The world’s media were also busy in La Paz as they caught up with competitors to get their take on the race so far. With Team Peugeot Total occupying all three podium positions in the car category the questions came thick and fast for Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and Cyril Despres (FRA). The French trio were happy to reflect on a solid first week of driving but also careful not to get too carried away with nearly 5 000 kilometres still to be covered.
Also looking to defend their strong position is the Red Bull KTM Factory Team who currently have Sam Sunderland (GBR) leading the bike race. Sunderland and his team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) are on a quest to deliver KTM their 16th consecutive Dakar win.
Team Kamaz Master are relishing their battle in the truck race with reigning champion Gerard De Rooy (NLD). With Eduard Nikolaev (RUS), Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) and Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) all within striking distance of De Rooy we’re guaranteed plenty more drama when this contest gets back underway today.
There was also the chance for race fans to come and have close up look at the bivouac and get a real taste of the action. One special guest having a good look around was windsurfing legend Robby Naish. The self-confessed motorhead was blown away by the scale of the operation that keeps the Dakar on the road and enjoyed a guided tour of the Peugeot 3008 DKR.
Windsurfing champion Robby Naish with Stéphane Peterhansel on the rest day, 8 January, in La Paz Bolivia.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool, images – Marcelo Maragni and Flavian Duhamel